Listening to “L.O.V.E.” and “Collage,” the opening tracks on Collage by The Katinas, you might feel like you had wandered into a club setting. The electronic beats and programming may catch you by surprise. The intent is to keep the music fresh, and this willingness to experiment carries over into the rest of the recording, which must have made this fun for these five brothers from American Samoa. If dance and synthesized sounds are not what you like, don’t give up on this CD. The other tracks have a more familiar sound.
In their 21 years together, the brothers realize that no matter how much they vary the music to stay relevant, the message is most important. That is especially the case on “Home,” which they have performed during altar calls at the “Harvest Crusades” conducted by evangelist Greg Laurie. The chorus is an invitation to every prodigal, “Whoever you are, wherever you’ve been / It don’t matter to Him / This is love / Turn around / Come on home.” Watch them sing it on the Official Music Video.
This strong vertical focus is maintained throughout. “I’ll Wait” is about yielding to God’s timing no matter how long it takes, learning to find peace in being still.
“Jehovah,” a lovely worship-oriented song, includes strong guest vocals from CeCe Winans. TobyMac, Jeremy Camp and B. Reith add their talents and vocals to other songs.
The band puts their own subtle stamp on enjoyable versions of David Crowder’s “How He Loves” and Delirious’ “Majesty.” Given the strength of the compositions and the reverent treatment here, it is easy to enter into a spirit of worship as you listen.
Among the pleasant surprises are two back-to-back feel-good tracks. “Every Single Bit of You,” written with B. Reith, is a sprightly love song. It’s followed by “La’u Pele Ea,” which has a tropical sound and sung, I presume, in the brothers’ native language.
Since loving God and our neighbors summarizes the whole Law, a song like “Love People” that repeats this refrain is a welcome reminder. TobyMac and B. Reith share the songwriting credit with The Katinas.
John Katina, one of the brothers, calls Collage the bands’ favorite recording. It’s easy to understand why with its smooth blend of diverse music influences and strong spiritual focus.